If your dog won’t let you touch its legs, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible reasons why your dog does it and what you can do about them.

Possible reasons why your dog will not let you touch its legs are injury, anxiety, bad previous experiences, intimidation, or naturally not wanting to be touched.

There are actually a number of possible reasons why your dog won’t let you touch its legs and it might be due to a combination of them. However, there are a number of things you can consider when figuring out the main cause and there are a number of things you can do about it.

Reasons why your dog won’t let you touch its legs

Below are a number of possible causes and what would make them more likely to be the main cause.

Injury

The cause could be that it has injured its legs and it does not want you to touch its legs because it hurts. This would be more likely if your dog has started doing it suddenly and it has been showing other signs of being injured such as limping. In this case, it would help to take it to a vet. 

Anxiety

Another possible cause is that it becomes anxious because it does not know what you are doing. This would be more likely if your dog shows other signs of being anxious such as hiding its tail, moving away from you and making itself appear smaller.

Previous experiences

The cause could also be that someone mistreated it in the past, causing it to not like allowing people to touch its legs anymore. This would be more likely if you adopted it as an adult. 


It might also be the case that you hurt its legs when you touched it before and now it does not want you to touch it again. This would be more likely if it stopped letting you touch its legs suddenly after you hurt it.

Intimidation

The cause could also be that it becomes intimidated. It might be intimidated because of the way you approach it, how loud you are or how aggressively you touch its legs. Instead, it would help to be gentle with it and to be calm around it. 

Nature

Some dogs just do not like being touched and it could be the case that yours does not like it naturally. This would be more likely if it has always not wanted you to touch its legs and if it does not like it when you touch it in other areas as well.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.

What else happened when your dog stopped letting you touch its legs

If your dog did let you touch its legs before, it would help to consider what else happened when it stopped letting you touch them. If it stopped letting you touch them suddenly, it could be because it injured its legs or because you hurt it when you touched its legs. 

What is different when your dog does let you touch its legs

If your dog does let you touch its legs sometimes, it would help to consider what is different when it does let you touch its legs. For example, if it does not let you do it when you approach it in a certain way, it might be because it is intimidated. 

Its age

It would also help to consider how old your dog is. If it is a puppy, it would be more likely that it does it due to being intimidated or not understanding what you are doing. Whereas, if it is an adult, it would be more likely to be due to past experiences. 

What to do about your dog not letting you touch its legs

Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.

Get help

If your dog has started doing it suddenly and it has been showing signs of being injured, the best option would be to take it to a vet. By taking it to a vet, you should be able to rule out medical causes and to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog.

Avoid encouraging it

As mentioned above, it could be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward it when it does let you touch its legs and to avoid rewarding it when it does not. 

Training

Positive reinforcement training involves encouraging the behaviors you want to see by rewarding your dog when it shows signs of displaying them. To use it to get your dog to let you touch its legs, you would make it seem like you want to touch its legs and reward it if it does not flinch, then gradually build up to actually touching its legs. 

Be careful

Often, dogs will behave more aggressively when they are intimidated. If it does not like having its legs touched, it would also be important to be careful when trying to touch its legs.

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I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.